DESPITE ANDY RICKER’S wild success as Portland’s pied piper of exotic Asian cuisine (he’s launched Pok Pok, Ping, and the Whiskey Soda Lounge), he still enjoys a good hamburger as much as the next guy. In December, Ricker partnered with Daniel Mondok, the chef of Sel Gris, to open Foster Burger, a neighborhood–style hamburger joint set in the former Cava space in Southeast Portland. Mondok grinds batches of Lindsey Ranch beef with Sweet Briar Farms pork back–fat by hand to create the eatery’s signature menu item, the Foster Burger ($7.50). Order it topped with your choice of thick–cut bacon, Rogue Creamery blue cheese, and caramelized onions. Equally enticing is the Kiwi Burger ($11), a rich slab of Cattail Creek ground lamb stacked with pickled beets, aged cheddar, and a fried egg. Each burger comes slathered in a tangy house–made secret sauce and is served on an airy sesame–seed bun from An Xuyen Bakery next door.
For the more daring, there’s a Pickles o’ the Day Plate ($4), which spills over with a changing array of delicacies like octopus and soft–boiled egg; or Black and White Fries ($8) featuring hand–cut french fries sprinkled with parmesan cheese and white truffle oil, served with a potent squid–ink aioli dipping sauce.
But Foster Burger shines because it doesn’t attempt to reinvent the iconic all–American hamburger. Instead, it’s yet another showcase for Ricker’s signature skill: elevating the simplest dishes to flag–saluting perfection.